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Teacher accused of selling pot got 'glowing recommendations' during hiring processSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Lex Gray


RHINELANDER - Police searched a Rhinelander High School teacher's house because they thought he had been stealing equipment from the school.

They say that's when they found 66 marijuana plants and a sophisticated grow operation. Since we reported that story last week, people have been asking how Joshua Juergens got hired in the first place.

"We got glowing recommendations," said superintendent Kelli Jacobi. "I don't know that those were all completely honest."

Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says the district did a background check on Juergens. That check turned up a record, as does a simple online search of Wisconsin's online court records.

In 2010, Juergens was convicted of disorderly conduct. In 1997, he was convicted of marijuana possession, both misdemeanors.

"We did know that there was a drug issue, a misdemeanor, I believe he was 19," Jacobi said. "We look at patterns in behavior. If something is a recurring thing in a background check, that definitely signals a problem."

But Jacobi says she can't factor certain convictions into the hiring process.

For now, Juergens is on unpaid leave from his teaching job. He'll stay in the Oneida County Jail unless he can come up with his $2,000 bail or get into a treatment facility.

He returns to court November 21.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

PRICE COUNTY - Some of us owe a lot to our health clinics for keeping us healthy enough to celebrate our birthday every year.

But one local health operation celebrates a big birthday of its own this year.

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RHINELANDER - Almost 12,000 people took a trip into history this year. But you only have one more day to check out the Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander. The museum closes for the season Saturday.

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Tucked away in western Oneida County, the Willow Flowage offers outdoor enthusiasts a year-round playground.

With 27,000 acres of undeveloped land and 6,000 acres of pristine water, the Willow Flowage reminds a lot of people of Canada...almost.

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MADISON - Chronic wasting disease has turned up in a deer in another northern Wisconsin county.

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RHINELANDER - You can find a lot of trees losing their leaves this time of year.  But a strip of trees near downtown Rhinelander is losing more than its leaves--those trees are losing their lives.

The ash trees sit between Trig's and the post office in Rhinelander.  City Parks Director Gunder Paulsen noticed that many are infected with the emerald ash borer and will need to come down.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - When people found a woman's body in Lac du Flambeau, police first thought she committed suicide -- something Newswatch 12 does not cover.

But Friday, the Vilas County Sheriff's Office confirmed it is investigating the 45-year-old woman's death as suspicious.

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Rhinelander Homecoming parade Submitted: 09/30/2016

RHINELANDER - Construction did not stop Hodag pride Friday night.

Green and white spilled into downtown for Rhinelander's homecoming celebration.

The dance team showed off its moves and the football team rolled down Brown Street.

The homecoming parade got students, parents, and even grandparents to come out in support.

"I am here to see my grandson, he is on the court, "said Elsa Burke.

Hodag jerseys and green facepaint lined the street as the RHS band and flag twirlers marched.

There definitely was a lot to look at, but football seemed to be the only thing on some people's minds.

"To see the Hodags come home with a W. That would be good," said RHS student Jacob Mahner.

The varsity football game kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight against the Medford Raiders.



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